Your Gmail emails don’t have to be on Google’s servers forever. Here’s how to download everything in your Gmail account as a file and turn it into a searchable, searchable offline archive on your computer – the easy way.
Download your emails with Google Takeout
First, download an archive of everything in your Gmail account from Google Takeout. Go to the Google Takeout website and sign in with your Google account.
Select what you want to download here. By default, all data associated with your Google account is selected.
To download only your Gmail, click “Deselect All”
Note: The “Email” option contains all emails and file attachments in your email account. To download other related data, such as your contacts, tasks, calendar events, or Hangouts chat history, select the appropriate options from the list.
When you have selected what to download, scroll down and click on the “Next step” button.
Go through the rest of the process, select the options you want and click ‘Make Export’. Depending on the size of your archive, it may take a while for Google to create the archive that you can download, or it may be very fast. You have a week to download the archive of your emails once it has been created.
The Google Takeout file is in ZIP form. The file you download will be given something like ‘takeout[something].zip ”.
Extract the contents with your favorite file unarchiver. For example, in Windows 10, you can right-click the ZIP file, select “Extract all” and click the “Extract” button.
You will get a folder “Takeout”. Inside you will find a folder “Mail” with all your Gmail emails in MBOX format.
Import your Gmail emails into Mozilla Thunderbird
Mozilla Thunderbird, the free and open-source email client, is the best way to browse this email archive. Download Mozilla Thunderbird to continue. It is available for Windows, macOS and Linux.
This process is a bit confusing to set up in Thunderbird, so follow our guide to opening an MBOX file in Thunderbird. When you’re done – it really only takes a few clicks – you can browse and search the contents of your Gmail archive in Mozilla Thunderbird.
It works completely offline. You can now back up your Gmail archive to any storage device and use Mozilla Thunderbird whenever you want to access its contents.
RELATED: How to open an MBOX file (with Mozilla Thunderbird)
You can even delete your Google account now if you wish. But make sure to backup your local archive so you don’t lose it!